Surrender the People’s Estates immediately and unconditionally!

Residents prepare to storm the offices of Mr Ka-shing, one of the potential buyers for Capco’s Earl’s Court assets

The 760 homes of the People’s Estates and the futures of its 2,000 residents are being held hostage by a property speculator. In exchange for their release, it has demanded from the three planning authorities a preferential planning permission to build thousands of homes extra to its existing permission – a ransom worth billions of pounds.

Capco is a public company listed on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges. It’s a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Capco is trying to hype the value of its Earl’s Court assets because it’s desperate to persuade potential buyers to pay as much as possible for what one of those potential buyers told our MP Andy Slaughter was “this stalled development”.

Capco, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State all know that thanks to Capco’s failures, the planning permission for Earl’s Court is incapable of ever being implemented and that the agreement to sell the estates is incapable of ever being enforced.

So, how can a public company demand an unacceptable planning permission in return for the release of our community from the endless menace of forcible displacement? And, how could any democratically accountable public authority possibly agree to such an exorbitant demand under that sort of duress?

Last year, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea Councils said no. Now, on 13 February 2019, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has issued Capco with a stark warning:

“We inherited a totally untenable situation at Earls Court, and as I made clear in November last year, I want to see the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates handed back entirely to the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham ahead of alternative plans being progressed and determined.

I understand that since then Capco have suggested they would make the transfer of the estates conditional on a performance agreement and receipt of an acceptable planning permission. This is not acceptable – and my patience is wearing thin. TfL have therefore made very clear on behalf of the GLA group that progress [with the joint venture development]depends on Capco transferring the estates back to LBH&F unconditionally.”

Hammersmith & Fulham Council, meanwhile, is considering compulsory purchase of Capco’s land interests so it can ensure not only that development actually happens, but also that the proportion of affordable housing is significantly increased.

We warn Capco, and we warn anyone thinking of buying Capco’s Earl’s Court assets: the community of the People’s Estates has stood together through ten long years. From highs to lows, through thick and thin, we’ve defended our neighbourhood. We’ll never give up.

Capco! You’re beaten. Surrender now and hand back our homes immediately!

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